Cookies on the Bupa website

We use cookies to help us understand ease of use and relevance of content. This ensures that we can give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies for this purpose. Find out more about cookies



Dementia symptoms you shouldn't ignore

The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people with dementia, around the world, will reach 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. With this amount of people affected, it’s easy to understand why the profile of dementia has never been higher.

Although there’s currently no cure for dementia, we do know that early diagnosis is beneficial for many reasons. An early diagnosis allows you to plan ahead while you’re still able to make decisions about your future. It gives you the opportunity to receive information, advice and support at the time when you need it most. And an early diagnosis may mean that treatments have a better chance of helping improve the way you process thoughts and your quality of life. 

With this in mind, it’s important to be able to recognise the symptoms of dementia in yourself or a loved one. Here’s a rundown of some of the symptoms you should look out for.

Read more Close
Early signs of dementia
Professor Graham Stokes


  • Symptoms Symptoms of dementia

    The early stages of dementia are often mild and may get worse very gradually. This stage is often overlooked and put down to ‘getting older’. Symptoms may include:

    • being forgetful
    • frequently losing track of the time
    • becoming lost in familiar places
    • misunderstanding spoken and written words
    As dementia progresses, the symptoms become more obvious and can cause more problems. They may include:

    • forgetting common facts and people's names
    • having difficulty communicating with others
    • repeating questions
    • wandering, restlessness and agitation
    During the later stages of dementia, you will gradually become dependent on others for your care. Symptoms that are likely to occur in the later stages of dementia include:

      Top tips for dementia caregivers by Bupa UK
    • being unaware of the time and the place
    • difficulty recognising friends and family
    • needing help to shower and use the toilet
    • finding it difficult to walk or not being able to walk at all
    • loss of bladder control
    • increased aggression and unusual behaviour, such as rocking backwards and forwards or using repetitive movements

    Click on the image to open our infographic of top tips for dementia caregivers.




  • When should I see my doctor? When should I see my doctor?

    The symptoms above will not necessarily affect everyone with dementia and nor are they specific to dementia or a particular type of dementia. If you think you or a loved one has one or more of these symptoms, don't delay. Go and see your doctor for a chat. He or she can offer you peace of mind and rule out any other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. They can also set the ball rolling so that you receive that all important care which could make the difference to your quality of life.

  • Resources Resources

    Further information


    • Dementia. A public health priority. World Health Organization., published 2012
    • Dementia. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries., published March 2010
    • Dementia. World Health Organization., published April 2012
    • About dementia. Alzheimer’s Society., reviewed March 2012
  • Has our information helped you? Tell us what you think about this page

    We’d love to know what you think about what you’ve just been reading and looking at – we’ll use it to improve our information. If you’d like to give us some feedback, our short form below will take just a few minutes to complete. And if there's a question you want to ask that hasn't been answered here, please submit it to us. Although we can't respond to specific questions directly, we’ll aim to include the answer to it when we next review this topic.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question
  • Related information Related information

  • Author information Author information

    Produced by Dylan Merkett, Bupa Health Information Team, January 2014.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question

About our health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. We believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and care. Here are just a few of the ways in which our core editorial principles have been recognised.

  • Information Standard

    We are certified by the Information Standard. This quality mark identifies reliable, trustworthy producers and sources of health information.
    Information standard logo
  • HONcode

    This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.

What our readers say about us

But don't just take our word for it; here's some feedback from our readers.

Simple and easy to use website - not alarming, just helpful.

It’s informative but not too detailed. I like that it’s factual and realistic about the conditions and the procedures involved. It’s also easy to navigate to areas that you specifically want without having to read all the information.

Good information, easy to find, trustworthy.

Meet the team

Image of Andrew Byron

Andrew Byron
Head of health content and clinical engagement

  • Dylan Merkett – Lead Editor – UK Customer
  • Nick Ridgman – Lead Editor – UK Health and Care Services
  • Natalie Heaton – Specialist Editor – User Experience
  • Pippa Coulter – Specialist Editor – Content Library
  • Alice Rossiter – Specialist Editor – Insights
  • Laura Blanks – Specialist Editor – Quality
  • Michelle Harrison – Editorial Assistant

Our core principles

All our health content is produced in line with our core editorial principles – readable, reliable, relevant – which are represented by our diagram.

An image showing or editorial principals

                  Click to open full-size image

The ‘3Rs’ encompass everything we believe good health information should be. From tweets to in-depth reports, videos to quizzes, every piece of content we produce has these as its foundation.


In a nutshell, our information is jargon-free, concise and accessible. We know our audience and we meet their health information needs, helping them to take the next step in their health and wellbeing journey.


We use the best quality and most up-to-date evidence to produce our information. Our process is transparent and validated by experts – both our users and medical specialists.


We know that our users want the right information at the right time, in the way that suits them. So we review our content at least every three years to keep it fresh. And we’re embracing new technology and social media so they can get it whenever and wherever they choose.

Our accreditation

Here are just a few of the ways in which the quality of our information has been recognised.

  • The Information Standard certification scheme

    You will see the Information Standard quality mark on our content. This is a certification programme, supported by NHS England, that was developed to ensure that public-facing health and care information is created to a set of best practice principles.

    It uses only recognised evidence sources and presents the information in a clear and balanced way. The Information Standard quality mark is a quick and easy way for you to identify reliable and trustworthy producers and sources of information.

    Certified by the Information Standard as a quality provider of health and social care information. Bupa shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of Bupa.

  • British Medical Association (BMA) patient information awards

    We have received a number of BMA awards for different assets over the years. Most recently, in 2013, we received a 'commended' award for our online shared decision making hub.

Contact us

If you have any feedback on our health information, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via email: Or you can write to us:

Health Content Team
Bupa House
15-19 Bloomsbury Way

Find out more Close

Legal disclaimer

This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.

The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this page.

For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the 'About our health information' section.

ˆ We may record or monitor our calls.